Professor Promotes State Department Sellout

, Cliff Kincaid, Leave a comment

style="FONT-SIZE: 14pt; LINE-HEIGHT: 130%">The State Department policy of
putting w:st="on">U.S. officials on Al-Jazeera, a
vicious anti-American propaganda vehicle, never made any sense. It’s like
feeding Christians to the lions. Then we learned that one of those officials,
Alberto Fernandez, went on the channel and declared in Arabic that U.S. Iraq
policy was arrogant and stupid. At first, he denied saying those things. Then he
admitted making those statements and apologized. This is a serious scandal that
demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of the “public diplomacy” effort being waged
by the State Department, supposedly on w:st="on">America’s behalf. Such diplomatic
buffoonery imperils the prospect of military victory in w:st="on"> w:st="on">Iraq.


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Incredibly, some so-called “experts” on the Arab media have defended
Fernandez, saying that attacks on w:st="on">U.S. foreign policy are necessary to
establish his credibility with an Arab audience. Taken to its logical extreme,
this view holds that U.S.
foreign policy is to blame for our problems in the Middle East and the only way
to get the terrorists on our side is to withdraw from w:st="on">Iraq (and much
of the rest of the world).


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Ironically, just a few weeks before Fernandez lied about his comments and
disgraced himself and embarrassed w:st="on">America, Newsweek had run a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14560221/site/newsweek/print/1/displaymode/1098">sympathetic
portrait of the official, calling him “sassy” and
compassionate.


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Marc Lynch, a professor at w:st="on">Williams w:st="on">College and author of style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Voices of the New Arab Public, a book
about Al-Jazeera, was quoted as saying that “Alberto is good at going into
heated, lively discussions, thinking on his feet. He’s not afraid to get
emotional, he’ll even lose his temper a bit, which is good on these types of
programs.”


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Let’s hope Lynch is not in any position where he can influence official
w:st="on">U.S. policy.


style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; LINE-HEIGHT: 130%"> style="FONT-SIZE: 14pt; LINE-HEIGHT: 130%">The story, by Zvika Krieger, noted
that Fernandez did run into some criticism when he referred to “revivalist”
Sunni Muslim scholar Yusuf al Qaradawi as “a respected scholar and religious
leader worthy of the deepest respect.” Qaradawi, a regular fixture on
Al-Jazeera, supports terrorism and was in the forefront of those criticizing the
Pope for his comments about Islam’s record of violence.


style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; LINE-HEIGHT: 130%"> style="FONT-SIZE: 14pt; LINE-HEIGHT: 130%">“Fernandez gets praise from
practically every other quarter,” the piece said.


style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; LINE-HEIGHT: 130%"> style="FONT-SIZE: 14pt; LINE-HEIGHT: 130%">This piece was almost as embarrassing
as Fernandez’s performance. It’s beyond belief that Fernandez still has a job.


style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; LINE-HEIGHT: 130%"> style="FONT-SIZE: 14pt; LINE-HEIGHT: 130%">The outcome of the Vietnam War showed
us that the w:st="on">U.S. cannot win on the military
battlefield if it loses the information and media war. With people like
Fernandez presenting the American point of view on w:st="on">Iraq, we seem
prepared to lose this war, too.

Cliff Kincaid edits the AIM report for Accuracy in Media.